Do these people think that he’s made of money?


So, formerMarlboroMayor and admitted felon Matthew V. Scannapieco would like the U.S District Court to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the community to recoup damages resulting fromhis criminal activity.

Man, there’s a surprise. Here’s a guy who admitted he took $245,000 in bribes from local developer and felon Anthony Spalliero to grease the wheels for the developer’s projects- and now he wants the suit seeking to recoup at least $300,000 in damages to go away.

What do those guys in Marlboro think, anyway? Do they think Scannapieco is made ofmoney?He had all those legal costs whenU.S.Attorney Christopher J. Christie had him in the crosshairs, after all. Then, he’s had to maintain a certain lifestyle while he awaits sentencing, which was supposed to take place in 2005, but hasn’t happened yet.

When you’re Matthew Scannapieco – basically unemployable in a market already saturated with convicted ex-politicians – you’ve got to have a little nest egg tucked away to live on. And if thoseMarlboro knuckleheads get $300,000, you’re gonna be in a big, deep hole when it comes to living expenses. Heck, you only admitted taking $245,000 and these guys want a $55,000 kiss on top of that.

Where’s the fairness in that, you wonder. This is America, after all. We’ve got rules, don’t we?

For those of you who disremember (a problem suffered frequently by Roger Clemens), here’s the background in a nutshell.

When Scannapieco was mayor of Marlboro between 1992 and December 2003, he apparently walked aroundmost of the time with a brown bag he wanted crooked developers to fill with money in return for favors. They obliged, but Scannapieco eventually got caught. In 2005, he admitted taking that $245K and, last December, Spalliero admitted giving him more than $100,000 of it. Spalliero is also currently awaiting sentencing.

Enter Robert Kleinberg, another former Marlboromayor. Kleinberg had his flaws as a politician, but not as a bona fide windmill tilter. Before he left office on account of getting trounced in the last election, Kleinberg saw to it that a lawsuit was filed against Scannapieco and three other public officials – Stanley Young, Richard Vuola and FrankAbate- for allegedly colluding with developers like Spalliero to defraud the township and screw it up with overdevelopment.

Although it is almost impossible to put a dollar value on the damage Scannapieco &Company caused during their long crime spree, it was Kleinberg’s contention that the community ought to sue in order to get back some of what it has lost.

Tomy knowledge, this was the first time a lawsuit of this nature had ever been filed around here, and while we all gave Kleinberg props for moxie, none of us thought the suit was a slam dunk.

In that, it appears we were right.

Last week, Scannapieco’s attorney, Douglas J. Katich, filed amotion to dismiss the lawsuit, pointing out the obvious – that Marlboro had failed to prove any actual injury.

And as I said, that’s almost impossible to do. Any bonehead who drives through Marlboro can see the damage done by Scannapieco’s criminal enterprises. But since one man’s junk is another man’s treasure, even that can be up for debate.

Let’s just hope that when he hears oral arguments on the motion to dismiss the lawsuitMarch 17, U.S. District Judge Joel A. Pisano agrees with Marlboro that there ought to be a cost for corruption, even if an admitted crook like Matthew Scannapieco wishes it were otherwise. • • • With people like Scannapieco and Spalliero in our world, it’s a good thing there are good people like Jay Signore around to provide balance, or the globe would just go spinning off its axis.

Although lots of people around here are unaware of it, between 1974 and 2006, Signore ran IROC, the International Race of Champions, out of his headquarters and fabrication shop in Tinton Falls.

I won’t go into all the things that made IROC an institution in the American auto racing industry, but in the years the IROC series ran, the roster of winners was a veritable who’s who of auto racing legend: Bobby Unser, A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Al Unser Jr., BobbyAllison, Cale Yarborough, Dale Earnhardt,MarkMartin, Kurt Busch. The list goes on and on.

Not only did IROC sponsor and stage the races, the company built the cars from the ground up in Tinton Falls and hired dozens of localmen and women for its work force.

In 2006, however, IROC lost its main sponsor, Crown Royal, and suspended its race schedule. Unlike too many businessmen faced with a bad prospect, however, Signore moved heaven and earth to make sure his employees had new jobs.He set up on-site interviews. He called friends, colleagues. He cashed in favors. I heard he even accompanied some of his employees on interviews for new jobs.

As a result of his efforts,most of his employees had those new jobs by the time he closed his doors. In the interest of disclosure, I should point out that my youngest son was one of those employees. Jay Signore helped him, and several others, land positions at Penske Racing in North Carolina. Last week, the drivers who took first and second place at the 50th annual Daytona 500 drove cars he worked on.Without Signore, he might not have had that wonderful opportunity.

I’m told it was always Signore’s hope to find a new sponsor and bring back the IROC series races, but it was not to be. On March 7-8, there will be an auction at the IROC headquarters in Tinton Falls, where everything from tools and equipment to race cars and memorabilia will be on the block.

That auction will close the book on IROC racing inNew Jersey, but there are a lot ofmen and women whomSignore raced with, mentored and employed who will carry on the best of his legacy within the auto racing industry.

Jay Signore was, and is, a class act.And the day he turns out the lights at his company’s Tinton Falls headquarters for the last time will be a sad day for us all, even those of us who’ve never watched a race on television or in person.

So thanks, Jay. We’ll hope to see you down the road.

Gregory Bean is executive editor of

GreaterMedia Newspapers. You can reach

him at [email protected].